Ilya Kovalchuk's arbitration hearing underway in Boston
Dan Rosen of NHL.com reports that an arbitration hearing got underway in Boston on Wednesday to determine if the NHL was correct in rejecting Ilya Kovalchuk's $102-million contract with the New Jersey Devils.
The hearing is expected to conclude Thursday, meaning the ruling might not be announced until Monday. Arbitrator Richard Bloch is hearing from all the key participants, including Kovalchuk, who delayed a trip home to Russia to attend the hearing, according to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly has said that the deal, which is front-loaded and stretches over 17 years, circumvents the Collective Bargaining Agreement's salary cap rules.The NHL Players Assn. filed a grievance on Kovalchuk's behalf.
If Bloch rules that the NHL was correct, Kovalchuk would again be an unrestricted free agent, and the Kings have indicated they would renew their pursuit. However, Bloch could restructure Kovalchuk's contract to get it in line with salary cap rules, as can the Devils. If that happens, the Devils would have to jettison enough salary from its roster to get under the cap. Stay tuned.
-- Debbie Goffa
Photo: Ilya Kovalchuk during the announcement of his signing with the Devils. Credit: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images